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Psalm 51:10 – Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

My friend had no intention of hurting anybody.

We’ll call her Mandy. She’s a sweet, warm person with a bubbly personality; she’s funny and lovable and kind. This gal wouldn’t willingly hurt a fly.

But she has absolutely no control of her tongue.

In the brain, out the mouth—that’s Mandy’s modus operandi. But sometimes, things she intends to be humorous or teasing inflict hurtful wounds. She’s always sincerely repentant, but as most of us have learned from experience, our words can no more be recalled than feathers in the wind.

Last time it happened, Mandy came to me in tears. A simple, thoughtless comment—spoken without malice, but equally without forethought—had caused a deep rift in a valued relationship, and this time her abject apologies were not enough. In fact, her church body would almost certainly lose a beloved member, and Mandy herself would lose a good friend. All because of her unruly tongue.

“What am I going to do about my mouth?” Her anguished gaze pleaded with me to do something, and I longed to repair the damage, but only God could do that.

“Let’s pray,” I suggested. “Then I want to show you something.”

Dutifully, she knelt. We joined hands and prayed a simple prayer while tears raced in endless streams from my friend’s eyes. Then I opened my Bible and read with her.

No, I didn’t take her to the familiar verses about the tongue in James chapter three—though the disciple’s words are still true, and I love that passage of scripture. But I knew Mandy had read it before, many times. This wasn’t a new problem. She knew her tongue was out of control. She also knew she had been less than successful at taming it.

What she hadn’t realized was that the problem lay elsewhere!

We visited the Book of Psalms and discovered a correlation between the heart and the tongue. Over and over again, David linked the two.

Psalm 17:3 (NIV) – Though you probe my heart and examine me at night, though you test me, you will find nothing; I have resolved that my mouth will not sin.

What’s this? David all but challenged God to find sin in his mouth…by examining his heart!

Psalm 19:14 (NIV)- May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Again, David indicates a link between the reflections of his heart and the words he speaks.

The New Testament picked up the same significant message in the very first book.

Matthew 12:34 – You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

Over and over, scripture after scripture, we find the same, straightforward message: If your heart isn’t right, your mouth will reveal it. The only way to tame the tongue is to purify the heart.

Finally Mandy worked up a ghost of a smile. “What a relief!” she said. “I was seriously starting to have nightmares about Matthew 5:30.”

Puzzled, I flipped open my Bible and looked it up.

(NIV) And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

“Mandy!” I tried not to laugh, but of course it was wasted effort.

“Okay, okay.” Mandy still looked a little subdued, but she was smiling, and I was glad to see it. “Just my heart talking again. But me and God are gonna get a handle on that real soon!

“Father, I ask that You purify my heart today—make it clean and undefiled before You. Your Word says the condition of our hearts is reflected in the words we speak, and I sincerely want to speak only those things that edify and encourage others. Let me not hurt or harm one of Your children, nor endanger my own soul, because my tongue is unruly. Create a clean heart and a right spirit within me, Father. Make me like You, so that the words of my mouth will bring refreshment and joy. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen


Delia Latham
© 2007

Let’s talk about the correlation between heart and tongue. What experience have you had that proves the mouth speaks from “the abundance of the heart?” Join in the conversation by leaving a comment, and be entered in our January giveaway. One randomly chosen winner, selected from the comments left on all posts during the month of January, will receive a copy of the following (some in print others in ebook form.)

Laughing With Lilly and Second Chance by Eileen RifeUnconditional by Tanya Eavenson;  In the Shadow of Sinai by Carole Towriss; Yesterday’s Promise, Jewels of the KingdomA Cowboy Christmas and two beautiful jewelry pieces by Delia Latham Sweet Freedom With a Slice of Peach Cobbler by numerous authors, Heaven’s Prey by Janet Sketchley; and Enemy in the RoomTen Lies, Ten TruthsOn the Edge, and The President by Parker Hudson.


About delialatham

DELIA LATHAM is a born-and-bred California gal, raised in a place called Weedpatch and currently living in the lovely mountain town of Tehachapi with her husband and a spoiled Pomeranian. She enjoys multiple roles as Christian wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend, but especially loves being a princess daughter to the King of Kings. She has a "thing" for Dr. Pepper, and loves to hear from her readers. Contact her through her website or send an e-mail to delia@delialatham.net.
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23 Responses to Heartspeak

  1. Tanya says:

    Amen. Recently I had to do a deep heart search and uncovered some areas of sin. Thankfully, they were painfully but truthfully revealed for me to work on.

    • delialatham says:

      God is such a wonderful friend! He’s always willing to shine a light on those little sins that trip us up…if we’re willing to actually see them. But when we do, and if we sincerely repent and free ourselves of those roadblocks, what a rereshing feeling it is to know we have a clean heart and a right spirit! 🙂

  2. Susan Mason says:

    Thank you for that lovely prayer, Delia!

  3. Tanya Hanson says:

    Thanks for the lovely and thoughtful post, Delia! When I’m frustrated, it’s easier to send myself an male rather than unload my unruly tongue on somebody else. I remember singing the liturgy Restore in Me a Clean Heart Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me,,,as a child, and thanks to God, the words have never left. But I am a very weak vessel LOL and need reminders. Thanks, my friend xo

  4. Tanya Hanson says:

    Sheesh, I meant: sent myself en E MAIL, not male, Auto correct wins again, duh.

  5. JoAnn Dawson says:

    God if I run around with a cloths pin on my tongue all the time this would keep me out of trouble. Thank you for the great prayer Sweet Delia. Love you

  6. Ah, the unruly tongue. Yep, I fall prey to this sinful affliction at times, especially with my husband. In fact, just the other night in our Life Group, we were challenged to allow other group members to hold us accountable for areas we need to work on in our marriages. I chose the tongue. One thing that helps is visualizing my heavenly Father-in-law standing over my husband, holding him and saying, “Eileen, this is my precious son. He is a special work of My hands. When you speak unkind words to him, you not only hurt him, but you wound Me. When you speak words that edify, you honor Me. Love My son, and you will show love to Me.”

  7. Renette Steele says:

    oh what a life long struggle this one is! words engage before i even realize it sometimes, esp with my hubby because i know i can be freer with him. But i must remember GOD does not give me permission to harm him or anyone else. So i sit in silence and get called stuck up. But if thats what it takes to control my tongue i will obey. Heart wants to do what is right and please GOD. I have found writing things out helps me tremendously because it gives me time to really see and think with my heart instead of my mouth.
    Sticks and stones are nothing compared to words, their effect last so much longer. i have also been on the other end many times and still struggle getting over those hurtful words of my youth. SO glad GOD is my healer and protector. You would think i would know better then to let my words fly unwarranted. Always a work in progress right. LORD cleans my heart and bring me to a place were i only see through your eyes and what matters most to you.

  8. Delia Latham says:

    Renette, I might have written your comment myself…truly! Always a work in progress for sure…He’s still working on me!

  9. What a powerful reminder to always, always center our hearts in Christ! I can so relate to your friend! My mouth is soooo fast, and many times, my brain can’t keep up. Yet, I’ve found I’m much less apt to have a verbal explosion when I’m truly focused on my listener, prayerfully seeking their best.

  10. Delia Latham says:

    You and me both, Jennifer! Prayer — maintaining that true relationship with God — makes all the difference!

  11. What a perfect reminder to be like Christ in every way. Beautiful prayer, Delia.

    • Delia Latham says:

      Thank you, Tanya! Isn’t it interesting to note that being like Christ means surrendering EVERYTHING to him…even the seemingly small ones, like the ever-unruly tongue! 🙂

  12. Lois Hudson says:

    Thank you for this thoughtful piece, today, Delia. I think heart attitude is behind every sin–of the tongue or any other kind.

  13. medazmr says:

    I can relate to Mandy a lot. I’ve dealt with this same issue a good part of my life. I want to be a vessel of honor and not dishonor for the Lord, but this area of the heart is very difficult to change. Thank God I have Him to teach me and help me overcome my tongue.

    • Delia Latham says:

      Everyone deals with this issue. The tongue is the hardest part of our bodies to keep under control – which is why that daily prayer life and consecration is so crucial. I’m glad you stopped by! 🙂

  14. Diana Prusik says:

    I cringe to think how many times my words have placed scars on someone else’s heart. Thank you, Delia, for reminding me to examine my own heart and to lead us in a prayer for heart cleansing.1 Thessalonians 5:11 says to “encourage one another and build each other up.” When our hearts are aligned with God’s will, that’s so much easier to do!

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